NATO Pullout From Afghanistan: Pakistan to Extend Fullest Cooperation: Foreign Office



Pakistan on Friday expressed its readiness to cooperate in the peaceful withdrawal of theNATO-led forces from Afghanistan, urging all the stakeholders to devote their energies towards making Afghanistan peaceful progressive prosperous and stable country in the post withdrawal period.

Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, while responding to various queries during weekly press briefing, said Pakistan is ready to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve the overall objective of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond.

He said Pakistan is in contact with all concerned in this regard and is monitoring the evolving situation, adding that Pakistan is convinced that peace stability and reconciliation in Afghanistan is in its own interest and it will facilitate peace process in Afghanistan in every possible manner.

Commenting on the negative gestures coming from Kabul, the spokesman said that Islamabad does not respond to any allegation with a counter allegation. For us, the most important thing is the peace process in Afghanistan, he said. We are convinced that peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the region, and we will continue to facilitate the peace process in every possible way, he added.

Recently, Afghan Defence Ministry had alleged that Pakistan was involved in terrorist activities inside Afghanistan after Kabul claimed to have captured a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative. However, the spokesman said Pakistan and Afghanistan are maintaining contact through appropriate channels to address the issues of mutual concern, adding that the DGMOs of the two countries recently met and resolved the border coordination issues, including border post construction. In our view, effective border management can help interdict any cross-border terrorist activity. We welcome such bilateral interactions in order to enhance bilateral cooperation and reduce space for detractors, he added.

The spokesman avoided responding repeated media queries regarding the former president Pervez Musharraf who is currently under the custody of Islamabad police on the court orders in the judges confinement case. To a question whether any foreign mission in Pakistan actually contacted Government of Pakistan to provide asylum to Pervez Musharraf, he expressed his complete ignorance saying I am not aware of any such approach by any foreign mission.

Similarly, when asked whether Foreign Office was in loop regarding any foreign contact and pressure about the Musharraf issue either from London, Washington, Jeddah or any other country and whether there was any record available at the Foreign Ministry regarding past agreements which were related to certain political leaders and to which certain foreign dignitaries were witness and signatories, he again declined to make any comment saying he was not aware of any foreign contact or agreement. To another question, the spokesman said that he does not have any information regarding the reported arrival of Prince Mukran from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan to talk about Pervez Musharraf.

About the Pak-US relations, he said Pakistan is maintaining mutually beneficial relations with the United States. He, however, said there are issues which happen in every relationship, and the two sides are taking steps to address them. On the whole the relationship is on a positive trajectory, he added.

Regarding the debate in Washington to cut off Pakistans aid, Pakistan and the US governments remain engaged at various levels to address the issues of bilateral concern, including the issues related to the aid. Both governments are constructively engaged on the basis of mutual respect and mutuality of benefit, he added.

About the recent earthquake in Balochistan, he said the government of Pakistan has not issued appeal for international assistance as our national institutions including NDMA and armed forces are actively working to provide relief and assistance.

Regarding the foreign observers to monitor the May 11 general elections, he said EU election observers are already in Pakistan and are getting briefings. We are facilitating foreign election observers from the EU, NDI, and some countries that have requested to send observer missions, including the US and paper work is in progress, he added. Responding another question about the composite dialogue between Pakistan and India, he said that the process is continuing and two rounds have been completed and the third one is underway. He hoped that dates for talks on different segments of the composite dialogue would be sorted out soon.

About the problems of Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, he said that Pakistan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah have been in constant contact with the Saudi authorities at different levels. He said that the three months grace period granted by Saudi authorities is being utilised to resolve the issues of residence permit.

About the non-career diplomats who still are serving in different capitals who are politically appointed, he said that the caretaker Prime Minister has approved the continuation of the ambassadors appointed by the previous government on contract basis until the next elected government takes a decision.

Source: Business Recorder



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